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tv   News  Al Jazeera  September 16, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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[ yelling ] >> hungarian police must water canon and fire tear gas at refugees they say were trying to break through from serbia. meanwhile, hundreds of refugees give up on hungary and brave minefields to reach croatia. hello there, i'm felicity barr. this extended bulletin, we'll have all the latest events between the borders of hungary. let's show you the pictures coming from the serbian side of
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the serbian-hundred gea-hungarin borders. we know that the hungarian police have fired water canons and tear gas at refugees they say broke through a border gate from serbia. there were chaotic scenes earlier as well. we heard from one correspondent on the grouped, but the secretarian police did charge the refugees on the serbian side of the border, pushing them back. we saw people running from small children. others trying to put water on their eyes to combat the effects of the tear gas. others with bloodstreaming down their faces. it does appear to have quieted down a little in the last ten minutes or so, but obviously tensions are very high there at the moment. our correspondent is in on the serbian side of the border with
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hungary. he joins us live. tell us what is happening there at the moment. >> it is calmer now, felicity. we were walking with a crowd of refugees, hundreds of them, as they were going into hungary. they were passing through the gate. they had managed to open the gate. at that point when they opened it many men women and children thought that the hungarians were going to let them through. people from jubilant. they were clapping. they had children lifted up on their shoulders. they were smiling and singing. they felt that they were victo victorious in putting pressure on the hungarian government. and then barely two seconds notice we heard a scream from the front of the crowd. people started turning and returning in the opposite direction. at one point many in the crowd
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worried that there could be a stampede. kids were trying to make sure that they could stay standing up and running with their parents. we were told by eyewitnesses at the front of the crowd, in fact, hungarian police rushed them, hit them with batons and these folks were greeted by tear gas as well. we managed to run back to the crowned into issue i can't, and at that point, the situation was calm. we have seen people who have sustained many injuries. a moment ago i saw a man who was bleeding profusely from the head. he said he was clubbed on the head by one of the hungarian riot policemen. there is anger in the crowd, sadness, kids who are getting water poured in their eyes because they're suffering from the after-effects of tear gas. now people in the crowd wondering what is going to happen. there was a pattern that is guinea merge. young men are trying to get to
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the front of the crowd and then run back when they are felt they will be met by hungarian police. then the crowd got very happy because they saw serbian policemen walking towards the border gate behind us. we don't know why they were going up there. these are not riot police. they were just regular border patrol. but at one point the refugees thought they were going to be supported by the serbian police, an they started cheering for the serbian blitz. it does remain a hole tile situation. >> as you were saying, most of these young men who would be moving towards the border fence trying to find a way through. but we've seen women and children, one woman carrying a baby, running away from that second wave of violence that happened. so it's not just young men who have been affected by this.
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>> oh, absolutely not. what we've been told is that a lot of young men that we've spoken with who were involved in the first set of clashes with the riot police on the hungarian side. they were demanding to be let in to hungary, then the hungarian police shot water canons and tear gas on them. that's when the anger arose. many of the clashes were with the young men. a lot of them would be exposed to the tear gas. they would run back and cover their faces, get rocks, and hurl the rocks at the police. this went on for a while. then at one point when the border gate was opened, everybody here thought that they were going to be allowed entry into hungary. that's when the women, the
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children joined along side their other people members. thought that they had been given the green lights to go into hungary. they were jubilant. the mood changed completely at a very short amount of time. then it went from being jubilant to extremely fearful, panned, almost, as people rab back in. worried for their lives. especially the women with kids, running with them making sure that their kids were not caught in a stampede. it's a volatile situation. at the moment not as many people on the front line. it's mostly young men up there right now. most of the women and children are behind us in that direction or in the field over to the right, which is the positions they've been in before when they were concern: there have been other young men who have been urging for cooler heads to prevail. they've been asking for the young men to step back, trying to defuse the situation. right now it does seem calmer, but it is still very, very
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chaotic. >> for people trying to figure out what is going on here. you are on its serbian side of the border. >> hungary is just a few hundred meters in that direction. i don't know if you can see the flashing lights behind me. we'll try to zoom in here. if we can zoom in, if you can see where those flashing lights are, those are the riot police trucks, the water canon trucks. that is hungary. before hungary. just a few meters before it. that's serbia. that's where we are right now. we're in a town right on the border. earlier today we were in a no-man's land. we were in an area motor way stretching between the serbian border and the hungarian border, and that's where hundreds
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gathered earlier today. then many would migrate over to this direction. this is a foot crossing from serbia into hungary. we're on the serbian side. a lot of refugee who is were not able to get into hungary from the border crossing, a motor way earlier in the day, they came here and they tried to cross over on foot, they were denied entry as well. so we're basically right along the border with hungary. yesterday we were on the other side of that border in a town it hungartown in hungary. that's where they sealed the border so people could not come in from hungar from serbia into hungary. there are more helicopters in the sky. we've seen an army helicopter, police helicopters, there are riot policemen, police vehicles, water canons, and we've seen
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tear gas deployed throughout the day. this is the day that they said they would really reinforce the border and toughen up security measures. and that's exactly what they've done today. >> that hard line continues. hungary has ordered that there should an 30-day suspension of that border where you are right now saying it's going to stay close for at least another 30 days. >> it's going to be interesting to see how that effects the mood of this crowd. we have not yet encountered any of the refugees here that have heard that news. everybody here has been predominantly pre-occupied with what is going on just a few hundred meters behind us. they've been focused on that gate and trying to get into hungary, and most of the people, as i mentioned, that we've encountered, have not yet heard
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that news. i can only imagine judging by the reactions throughout the day that that would increase the level of anger from the crowd here, from the refugee who is are trying to desperately to get into hungary. the refugee at the other border crossing today they could not understand the stance that the hungarian government was placing towards them. i spoke with one man who escape isil, he can't believe the treatment he has received from hungary. if he had known that, he would not have left syria to begin with. they have left death and destruction behind. they have tried to come for a new life in europe. now they are faced with razor wire, razor wire fences, riot police, water canons, tear gas. they're getting an angrier by
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the hour. no one knows how this is going to play out. >> in europe this has huge ramifications. i can tell that you serbia is extremely unhappy about hungary's use of tear gas and water canons against the refugees. they are experiencing the larishest statements about a half hour ago. hungary said that it's asking the serbian authorities to take action against those who are attacking, they say, hungarian riot police from the serbian side of the border. a diplomatic argument breaking out between the two countries. you mentioned the serbian police. have they been much in evidence, or are they standing back? is this all action on the part of the hungarian police? >> they've been reinforcing the serbian side of the border, but they've been much more relaxed than the hungarian police in the
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last few days, much more relaxed stance towards the refugees and towards the journalists covering the crisis. it has been fairly easy getting to the border area, the police have let them pass, and it does seem to us as though the police that we've seen come this way in the last 20, 30 minutes we don't yes note. we don't know what conversation that is happening, but we can only imagine that they were probably urging the hungarian authorities to try to not be as excessive in the use of force. that seems to be the mood and seems to be amplified by what you were telling us as far as the diplomatic front, all that being said, we know not just serbia has been frustrated with
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hungaria hundred gary's stance, but also austria. they said they were not being communicated to so a lot of frustration being directed towards. >> i just want to move away for the moment and speak to the director of crisis responses amnesty international. as he joins us from the hungarian-serban border. i gather you were there a little earlier just after the first start of violence broke out. tell us what you saw, and what
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people said to you? >> actually, when the first--we were at the bus station, and within 20 minutes, which is about the time that it takes to leave to get to the bus station we saw families who were backing up their children and said there is no way we're going to stay here. this is what we were fleeing. they were getting buses to go other places. they knew this was not going to be a place that would be safe any more. when we arrived at the scene, you could just feel the tension. and you know, we understand where this tension has come from and where it has risen from. they have had no information about what is going to happen to them. they have no information on where to go. and you know what we've been seen i in the last few minutes we saw them tearing down the barrier and dragging it further away from the hungarian-serban borders. >> what do you think is going to
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be the response once many of those refugees at the border are going to remain shut for the next 30 days. that's what hungary has announced in the last half hour, it intends to keep those border crossings closed for the next 30 days. people are incredibly frustrated. tensions have not been as high. they've been escalated because of the lack of information. people were chanting thank you serbia, merkel, merkel, human rights. now that this comes through we're probably only going to see an escalation in their frustration. no one knows what to do, to be honest with you. they do want to express their deep, deep confusion. >> the hungarian authorities have spoken to al jazeera, and they say the reason that the water canon was used and tear gas was used was because the
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refugee themselves have become vie atlanta. they through water bottles, they tried to storm through the fence, through the barricades, and therefore the hungarian police had a right to protect themselves. >> the police need to respond proportionately. is it appropriate to be using water canons? these are questions that need to be asked.
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>> what kind of advice are you given to refugees with what they should do next. >> we don't given out legal advice to refugees, but what we've been telling them and explaining to them that what hungary has done, they have criminalized irregular movement, and then refugees will face up to three years in jail if they were to try and cross. but most importantly. we have been listening to them. they say they don't want anything from europe. they want safety. that's what we're here for. we're monitoring what is happening to them and listen to their concerns and look at what is the impact of the these draconian laws that hungary has brought into play. the scenes that you're seeing right now, these are the impact
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of these draconian laws. >> this is not the only organization. the only country worried about the laws that are brought. the council of europe said that it has summoned the hungarian prime minister over the new legislation being put into force by hungary. are you encouraged by things like that? >> absolutely. we need to hold hungary accountable for these laws. but trying to appease people is not going to change this. we need to be reassured that there are more humanitarian visas and people find safe and legal routes through europe and get rid of this notion that you can push refugees back and that they have a right to seek asylum in the country where they make the claim. >> is there sympathy for th the
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hungarians. most do not want to live in hungary. they want to go through to germany. the hungarians were overwhelmed by the sheer number they were dealing with? >> yes, it's true. the hungarians were dealing with a crisis they were not prepared or equipped to be able to deal with, but but that does not excuse the laws. what there have been in the coming days. he said to me, he said this looks like syria.
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the only difference is that they would be firing live bullets. not water canons. that's really telling in itself. while there are city in the challenges this reaction. >> what about serbia. how do they feel that serbia has dealt with the situation. it has also have the added compression of many refugee who is are not able to get to serbia to hungary. they're moving around serbia, and they're looking to gain access from there, there. how have the serbian authorities responded to this, do you think? >> we haven't seen much of a response from the serbian authorities. there is a very light police presence from the beginning. there has been a very light police presence. the people, the refugees are telling us that they feel safe here. that they feel like they've been
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treated with respect. and they're handling what is happening on the border. there have been deplorable humanitarian conditions here. there have been virtually no coordinated aid response. when the board closed with hungary we knew that there would be this bottleneck. it was predictable, and there should have been some planning. >> but is that all down to the serbian authorities or should europe as a whole have been helping the serbians when they realize that when that border closed you were going to have this bottleneck of thousands of people just coming on that border? >> absolutely. this is not just serbian issue. this is an european issue. it should have been planned appropriately so that actually we night not ended up with this mass escalation into violence. >> what are your thoughts now on what the refugees might do next? we know that the border is going to be closed probably for 30 days. do you feel that more will now
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be of a mind that they don't want to stay where they are camped out at the moment. they say that the conditions are not good enough. they'll trek towards the croatian border or find some other way through. certainly countries surrounding serbia are preparing for an influx. >> with no running water, no toilets, no access to food it was going to be difficult to stay at this border crossing any way. but what people are coming up and asking us, what do we do next? where do we go? indeed, you have heard from people who are already scared, and they are beginning to walk out as we speak. for the most part people are actually dazed and confused. they thought that hungary would meet their humanitarian needs, that they would understand and let them pass through and appreciate that they were trying to just get by in safety and
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seek asylum. but now no one has a plan. everybody is very, very confused. they're asking for help they're running out of money and they can't go anywhere. >> we appreciate your time. thanks for being with us here on the program. well, the government spokesman for the hungarian prime minister office. he defended hungary's actions saying that people at the border are, in fact, criminals. >> this afternoon this is a violent crowd, but this is
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unacceptable. these people are in no way refugees. they're criminals at the moment. in the past two days we've had the opportunity for peaceful legal way. this is not happening. you have to understand one thing. >> mentioning a few moments ago that route by hungary closed off for another 30 days. more and more refugees are trying to reach safety through croatia. we join the serbian town near the border with croatia. tell us what has been happening
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at that border town? >> we saw 500 of them coming here by organized transportation, buses that were provided by serbian governments or the red cross. they were carried from the border crossing between serbia and hungary to here. also they were coming here with the border crossing with macedonia in south serbia. they come here greeted by volunteers who give them food, give them water, and they go on through this road. they turn left and go to alternative roots. the police greeted them. they put them in buses.
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and then take them to croatian refugee camps we had confirmation that a train will carry 500 refugees from here to the capital of croatia. as we've seen today, the scenes that we saw a few hundred people coming here. there was a decision by red cross, by serbian government that all buss with refugees that are entering serbia will be carried here and then to croatia. >> some of the people arriving have been in organized buses, organized by organization by the
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red cross. >> they're finding resting points on the road to hungary. the capital in last month. now they're paying 150 euros from belgrade, and that is 120 kilometers. there were some trains leaving from macedonia to belgrade, but until now we didn't get information that all those trains will also be transferred here because there is also train
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station here connecting serbia and croatia. >> marcus live there on the serbian croatian border. thank you very much, indeed. just to take you back to live pictures that are coming to us from the crossing. that is on serbia's border with ungary. you can see some of the refugees still standing around, wondering what is going on for the moment. an hour ago there were scenes of violence. we're told by the hungarian authorities that some of the refugees tried to push through the barrier to get into hungary. the police responded they nee need--used water canons and tear gas, and we saw the refugees pouring back towards the serbian side. they had streaming eyes. there were some who had been hit
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on the head by batons. there were crying children. very distressing scenes. but now it's calm at the moment. we're back with more in a couple of minutes.
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